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Friday, 14 October 2016

MEGA TWITCH! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR!

SIBERIAN ACCENTOR
Easington, Yorkshire
Second for UK in the same week – incredible!!!


I arranged with Eddie Myers last night to twitch this mega bird! Eddie doesn't often twitch outside Norfolk nowadays, but said he 'NEEDED' this, as he has seen eight other Accentor species worldwide and wanted a ninth!!! There are twelve altogether he told me.

Incredible that this Siberian Accentor is the second in a week and what an incredible October UK birders are having!!! I didn't go to bed at all, I decided I would feel worse getting up so early! Eddie picked me up at 4am and off we set, following my irish lady on my sat nav, which is a good job we did as the A17 was closed! Eddie was slightly worried about where the 'irish lady' was taking us, but I assured him that she has never let me down and we arrived in Easington at about 7.15am. Parked the car up and walked to where the bird was.
Short movie of birders in the queue!

 Longer movie of birders in the queue!  

There were hundreds of birders, a magnificant sight! There were so many Norfolk birders here, I can't list them all!!! I was dreading the scrum that more than often occurs at mega twitches, but I was very impressed with people's behaviour overall. I heard later on that it was a bit crazy at first light (just before we got there) but the Spurn Bird Observatory volunteers/staff had it wonderfully under control when we arrived – in fact I take my hat off to them for an extremely well organised system. The Siberian Accentor was feeding on old school grounds behind a low fence, opposite the gas terminal.

We were asked to queue along the road next to the fence and wait our turn to be called across, so that only 40ish people were viewing along the fence at one time, so as not to disturb the bird. Whilst there, you had about 5-10 minutes and were then asked to leave, to allow others to view the bird. Naturally most people if not everyone re-joined the queue to obtain second, third, fourth, fifth and so on views!!! Obviously there were a few (I saw you!) who decided not to rejoin the queue and just hovered for a while and then went to look again, but the majority followed the 'rules' and everyone had an amazing time watching this cracker of bird who fed continuously and seemed unperturbed by the crowds. But the bird did get disturbed several times by unhappy Hedge Sparrows I noted!
Short movie of the Siberian Accentor feeding
Phone-scoped Video – I won't win any prizes for film making! 

The Siberian Accentor flicked the leaves up amongst the moss to find food and was an absolute joy to watch and was often only yards away.  Hedge Sprarrows and also Bramblings were feeding with the bird along with a few Robins. The light first thing was abysmal and because the bird was constantly on the move and rarely still, it was very difficult to nail on the camera. On returning home later I discovered I had taken 2,287 pictures of birds at Easington and Spurn today, most of which was for the Siberian Accentor! I found a couple of half decent shots when I returned home on Friday night which are here and on various birding websites etc, but have yet to go through all the others on Saturday evening, I'm hoping I have better shots somewhere!
Me taking pictures of the Siberian Accentor –  ©Lee Evans

SIBERIAN ACCENTOR
Easington, Yorkshire


I took an awesome video of the queue of birders, to give a glimpse of how many birders were here first thing – I'll put this on youtube Saturday evening. Lee Evans wrote that there were at least 1,400 birders here today – see his wonderful account of the entire day's birding HERE. Eddie and I put a 'note' in the collection bucket after we had seen the bird! There is an account on the Spurn Bird Observatory website of today's birding and advice/request etc about tomorrow if the Siberian Accentor is still present: http://www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/sightings/

Eddie and I just after seeing the Siberian Accentor!
This is Eddie's best smile for the camera!

Siskin at Sammy's Point
Redstarts at Sammy's Point

Eddie and I decided not to race round to see all the other 'main' birds on offer and went to look for our own birds. First of all we went to Sammy's Point – what an amazing place! It was dripping in migrants – this is how birding should be! Birds flicking around constantly – Redstarts, Ring Ouzels galore (at least 10+), Blackcaps, Goldcrests, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Siskin, Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Fieldfares, Hedge Sparrows etc! The walk along the seawall was just incredible – the horse paddocks and rich scrub held all of these birds and the sloped sea defence of large rocks held Robins, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Redstarts just flicking around in front of us! Also bumped into Jonny Rankin here, what a lovely guy – he took a selfie of us both, oh dear!
Easington Cemetery had had a juv. Rose-coloured Starling, but it wasn't there when we looked, but Eddie found a lovely Lesser Whitethroat in the sycamore and obviously lots of Goldcrests.

The Blue Bell Cafe had a very obliging Shorelark on view, just behind the grounds for all to enjoy. There had also been an Olive-backed Pipit here earlier, but we didn't see that. The cafe itself did not have any hot vegetarian meals which what I really wanted and neither Eddie or I wanted to waste birding time going to the pub – also we already had parked in the designated field and didn't want to move it again. Eddie stayed in the cafe to eat something non-vege and I returned to the car to eat vege stuff I had packed up.
Shorelark by the Blue Bell Cafe


The beach adjacent to The Warren at Spurn

Black Redstart at The Warren

Near the Canal Pool along Spurn Point there was a Dusky Warbler, but I didn't see it. A crowd of birders were jammed into a gap between hedges and could see the bird, but I would have had to be 8ft tall to have seen it! Large amount of birders here including LGRE. Nine Bean Geese were on show which was fabulous to see. I so wanted to walk the entire length of Spurn Point, it looked so exciting, but there wasn't time. I walked part of though and left Eddie to watch/look for the Dusky Warbler. I got as far as The Warrens and found a cracking Black Redstart sitting on old roof tiles next to the Heligoland trap. There was also a Stonechat in the grassy field on route. Two Siskins and some Hedge Sparrows were feeding with the Black Redstart and this looked like a brilliant spot to sit in a chair and watch from. Three Swallows sped overhead, which surprised me. I walked a bit further and down onto the beach – reminded me of Cley, massive crashing waves and very bracing winds! The path that continued along the point, needed to be walked, but I had to turn back, so frustrating!!!
Birders searching for the Dusky Warbler at Spurn

Eddie and I went to the Blue Bell Cafe to warm up with a hot drink and both had a naughty cake! I really loved the atmosphere in this cafe, but disappointed that they don't even sell something basic like a jacket potato for us vege's. Lovely staff and met some nice people in here. I met a lot of blog followers today which was great, thanks for taking the time to come and chat and thank you all for your continued support.

We went to the area near the pub where people had been watching the Pallas's Warbler all day, but we were unlucky, we could have waited even longer, but wanted to see the Siberian Accentor again before we left. There were around 30 birders left at the Siberian Accentor, which was far more chilled than this morning. Eddie and I took lots more pictures and enjoyed watching this wonderful bird again just before we left.

The journey home was horrendous because we were both so tired, Eddie did an amazing job of driving all day, thank you. We stopped at a MacDonalds on route which really gave us a boost. My spicy beanburger, chips and tea tasted really good and the break and food helped us to get home. Eddie dropped me off in King's Lynn at about 10.10pm and he continued on home to Wiveton.

I tried to write up all the Norfolk news on my blog and write about today, but couldn't - far too exhausted. Typed up both on Saturday.

What an amazing day! Media links below:
  1. http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/721278/Birdwatching-Siberian-bird-Britain
  2.  http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/environment/video-hundreds-of-bird-watchers-descend-on-yorkshire-village-to-see-rare-siberian-accentor-1-8181871
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/14/twitchers-flock-to-village-car-park-to-catch-glimpse-of-rare-sib/
  4. http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/720894/Russian-birds-Siberian-accentor-flock-to-Britain-first-UK-sighting
  5. http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/rare-siberian-accentor-attracts-hundreds-to-easington-car-park/story-29808831-detail/story.html

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